The Beatles had a remarkable burst of creative output in a relatively short amount of time. In just under a decade, the band recorded 213 songs over the course of 13 main studio albums and maintained a prestigious pace with regards to recording and releasing material. Before any of the members had reached 30, they had put together what remains the most formidable discography in the history of popular music.
Of course, with that work ethic, it didn’t leave a lot of time for nostalgia. But even The Beatles weren’t immune to looking back every once in a while. During the fade out to ‘All You Need is Love’, a cheeky recitation of ‘She Loves You’ is chanted to tie the band’s disparate eras together with a uniting theme of love. ‘Glass Onion’ gleefully makes reference to the band’s songs ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, ‘I Am the Walrus’, ‘Lady Madonna’, ‘The Fool on the Hill’, and ‘Fixing a Hole’. Later on The White Album, George Harrison references a song on that very album by plugging ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ within the lyrics of ‘Savoy Truffle’.
A sneaky reference here and there was one thing, but the band almost never revisited their old material in full. That was until McCartney brought in the concept for Get Back, a project that would find the band attempting to return to their roots as a tight rock and roll band. In that same spirit, The Beatles began to think about their early material and how they had progressed in such a short amount of time.
The outtakes from what would eventually become Let It Be are often more fascinating than the actual album itself, with snippets of early rock and roll numbers and nascent takes of future solo cuts popping up across the disorganised sessions. However, on one particular day, while the band were recording with Billy Preston, they revisited their first hit single, ‘Love Me Do’.
Played in a slower and more bluesy style, this version of ‘Love Me Do’ is the perfect epitome of how the Get Back sessions were going: loose, disjointed, and mostly half-assed. Preston’s presence is noticeable but minimal, plodding along until the song inevitably loses steam and falls apart. There wasn’t really any reason to play the song other than to amuse themselves as they waited around for inspiration to strike. Or, you know, they just wanted to kill time. In any case, it’s notable for being one of the only early-period songs taken on by the late-period Beatles, which was almost a completely different band by that point.
Check out the audio from the session down below.